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Rebecca

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Does anyone currently, or has previously kept rabbits? I am in big research mode as I want to add rabbits to the homestead in spring.
My only previous experience was as a child with pet rabbits. These ones will not be pets. Although of course I wish them to have a good life.

Any advice? Good idea? Bad Idea? Why?

I've got as far as to realise I prefer the colony method. I've joined a bunch of groups etc but you guys are often more practical and down to earth.
So any tips to share? From cages, to foods, heating or cooling, uses for pelts, recipes. Basically anything you say is appreciated.

PS: I do know you can't survive on rabbits alone, I'm just looking to diversify my options.
 

Amish Heart

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Our son raises meat rabbits. He tried the colony method, too, and decided against it. It was a problem when babies were born, and he lost a bunch of babies. Rabbits get territorial. So cages don't have to be huge, but if you can get them off the ground so you can rake up the poop for your garden, that's a plus. The poop is not hot, and can be used right away. So, at least start with 2 ladies and 1 guy. Three cages. The guy visits and then goes back to his cage. Then viola! Babies. Easy. His rabbits eat pellets and he grows wheat grass for their greens. They also like to be tossed the ugly vegetables from the garden. They use a water bottle for water. I don't remember how he did the rabbit fur and rabbit feet, but he used arrowroot. His rabbits didn't require any additional heating or cooling in New Mexico (northern), although they have a covered "nest" box in their cage with straw in it, and the cage wasn't in direct sunlight in the summer. Waterbottles freeze in the winter, so he'd have one inside the house that he would switch out each morning. Recipes? Chunks of meat in a soup/stew, or strips of meat in the oven coated with a little olive oil and spices of your choosing. I think he made blue corn rabbit enchiladas once. Rabbits are good easy meat choices. Am hoping to set up this spring for some.
 

Rebecca

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According to them:
"Rabbits breed and grow so quickly that one pair of healthy does (females) can produce more than 600 pounds of meat in a year. Compare that to the dressed yield of 400 pounds for an average year-old beef steer. Rabbits also use feed more efficiently than cows do: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a rabbit needs 4 pounds of feed to make 1 pound of meat. In comparison, beef cattle need 7 pounds of feed or more to create 1 pound of meat, reports Michigan State University’s Department of Animal Science."

Of course this is going to depend on a variety of factors, survival rates, how often you breed the does and so on.
 

Patchouli

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@Rebecca we do have a guy that stops in here once in a while that raises rabbits. He lives in Texas. I'll see if I can find one of his threads or something. I am having a hard time remembering his forum name. James something....Anyone else know who I'm referring to? He's always got stuff going on with his gardening. Maybe he has a youtube channel.
 

Sourdough

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I have a thundering herd of Snowshoe Hare. But I know zero about raising them.
 

Patchouli

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@Rebecca It looks like most of his videos are "unavailable." Not sure what happened there. Maybe he deactivated them. Tried digging around for his videos on YT, didn't see his face.
I hope you find a good group or mentor to lean on.
 

hiwall

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According to them:
"Rabbits breed and grow so quickly that one pair of healthy does (females) can produce more than 600 pounds of meat in a year. Compare that to the dressed yield of 400 pounds for an average year-old beef steer. Rabbits also use feed more efficiently than cows do: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a rabbit needs 4 pounds of feed to make 1 pound of meat. In comparison, beef cattle need 7 pounds of feed or more to create 1 pound of meat, reports Michigan State University’s Department of Animal Science."

Of course this is going to depend on a variety of factors, survival rates, how often you breed the does and so on.
Thanks!
 

joel

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We grew rabbits for home use, not for sale.
 

BadgerLandHunter

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I'm raising meat rabbits now in cages. I've only been doing it since summer but learned alot and asked a lot on a rabbit forum.

I like rabbittalk.com. Just post meat rabbit questions in the dedicated meat rabbit section and within a day you probably will get a response but it's not real new so much has already been asked if you search.

Just a quick thing never add the make rabbits to the females cage. Females are extremely territorial and in some cases have castrated the male visitor. Females always to male cages or both to an empty cage.

Only name the breeders if they produce. (Less likely to "fall in love" with them) Pellets loose vitamin E and K fast after 4 months past manufacturer so if they don't want to breed as adults it could be that. A small handful of spinach each day will fix that.

Too much info to go over here. Depending on your weather will determine where to start. In the south you want shade and max air flow.....in the north you want some sun but the option to block most air flow for winter.

If I could start again i wouldn't have bought mutts. They may be healthier but they are less valuable. If I want to sell a mutt I'm looking at $25-35 if it's a pure breed pedigree I'm looking at $45-75+.

This forum is great and the people are great but for specific rabbit questions especially medical issues you will be better having a seperate account on a rabbit forum.

To be clear I am only a member so I don't have any stake in the mentioned forum. Join any forum you like if you feel like it. Lol.

Raising rabbits is fun. You will learn as you go.
 

PinnickelFarms

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I had my rabbits in a colony in a barn stall for years and really enjoyed them. It seemed more natural than cages, but there are pros and cons to both. Caged rabbits are tamer, colonized rabbits are more skiddish, but I think they produced better. Rabbits dig so I used stall mats as a floor with pine shavings. when I cleaned it I just shoveled it into a wheelbarrow and applied it directly to my blueberries. Never did I have a problem with the other rabbits harming babies. The moms would often use the same nest and appeared to co-parent them. The babies seemed to prefer snuggling with the buck. You do have to learn how to sex them and pull the excess males out into a bachelor pad for grow out. My colony was very successful, they bred like rabbits and I ended up selling dozens of them and still had enough for the freezer. Hope this helps.
 

PinnickelFarms

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Billy goats in rut stink! But...nothing Is cuter than a baby goat. Like most animals, they respond to pressure, keep them dry and well fed and they usually don’t feel pressured to leave. We’ve had them for about 10 years. Milking goats is much easier than cows and, as long as you do it properly, tastes just as good and can be just as versatile. Hope this helps...
 

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